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fiction, histories and travels, Juvenal in a translation, Montaigne and Voltaire and La Rochefoucauld in the French. “I have no prejudices to combat with, she wrote; so that the freest thinker could speak his mind in her presence. The reputation of this brilliant and outspoken young woman spread quickly among the politicians, and they came in numbers to dine or sleep or even to watch her dress in the morning. Perhaps they laughed when they discussed her afterwards, but she carried her main point triumphantly— that they should come to see her. Two years after her marriage she notes: ‘To-day I had fifty visitors.” Her diary becomes a memorandum book of anecdotes and political news; and it is very seldom that she raises her eyes for a moment to consider what it is all about. But at one point she gives us a clue, and observes that although she cares for her old friends best she ‘seeks new acquaintances with avidity,” because “mixing with a variety of people is an advantage to Lord H.’ One must live with one's kind and know them, or ‘the mind becomes narrowed to the standard of your own set,’ as the life of Canning had shown her. There was so much good sense always in what Lady Holland said that it was difficult to protest if her actions, in their excessive vigour, became dangerous. She took up politics for Lord Holland's sake, with the same deter. mination, and became before long a far greater enthusiast than he was; but, again, she was able and broad-minded. Such was her success, indeed, that it can be said by a student of the time" nearly a hundred years after it has all faded away—‘Holland House was a political council chamber . . . and the value of such a centre to a party under exclusively aristocratic leadership was almost incalculable.” But, however keen she became as a politician, we must not pretend that she inspired Ministers, or was the secret author of policies that have changed the world. Her success was of a different nature; for it is possible even now, with her diaries before us, to reconstruct something of her character and to see how, in the course of years, it told upon that portion of the world which came in contact with it. When we think of her we do not remember witty things that she said; we remember a long series of scenes in which she shows herself insolent, or masterful, or whimsical with the whimsicality of a spoilt great lady who confounds all the conventions as it pleases her. But there is some quality in a scene like the following, trivial as it is, which makes you realise at once the effect of her | Mr. Lloyd Sanders,
presence in the room, her way of looking at you, her attitude even, and her tap with her fan. Macaulay describes a breakfast party. ‘Lady Holland told us her dreams; how she had dreamed that a mad dog bit her foot, and how she set off to Brodie, and lost her way in St. Martin’s Lane, and could not find him. She hoped, she said, the dream would not come true.” Lady Holland had her superstitions. We trace it again in her words to Moore, ‘This will be a dull book of yours, this “Sheridan,” I fear”; or at dinner to her dependent, Mr. Allen, ‘Mr. Allen, there is not enough turtle soup for you. You must take gravy soup or none.” We seem to feel, however dimly, the presence of someone who is large and emphatic, who shows us fearlessly her peculiarities because she does not mind what we think of them, and who has, however peremptory and unsympathetic she may be, an extraordinary force of character. She makes certain things in the world stand up boldly all round her; she calls out certain qualities in other people. While she is there, it is her world; and all the things in the room, the ornaments, the scents, the books that lie on the table, are hers and express her. It is less obvious, but we expect that the whole of the strange society which met round her board owed its flavour to Lady Holland's freaks and passions. It is less obvious, because Lady Holland is far from eccentric in her journal, and adopts more and more as time goes by the attitude of a shrewd man of business who is well used to the world and well content with it. She handles numbers of men and women, rough-hews a portrait of them, and sums up their value. ‘His taste is bad ; he loves Society, but has no selection, and swallows wine for quantity not quality; he is gross in everything. . . . He is honourable, just, and true.’ These characters are done in a rough style, as though she slashed her clay, now this side, now that. But what numbers of likenesses she struck off, and with what assurance 1 Indeed, she had seen so much of the world and had such knowledge of families, tempers, and money matters, that with greater concentration she might have shaped a cynical reflection in which a lifetime of observation was compressed. ‘Depraved men,” she writes, “are in a corrupt state of things, but yet they like the names of virtues as much as they abhor the practice.” La Rochefoucauld is often on her lips. But merely to have dealt with so many people and to have kept the mastery over them is in itself the proof of a remarkable mind. Hers was the force that held them together, and showed them in a certain light, and kept them in the places she assigned WOL. XXV.-NO. 150, N.S. 51
to them. She took in the whole sweep of the world, and imprinted it with her own broad mark. For not only could she subdue all that happened ordinarily in daily life, but she did not falter when the loftiest heights, which might well have seemed beyond her range, lay across her path. She sent for Wordsworth. “He came. He is much superior to his writings, and his conversation is even beyond his abilities. I should almost fear he is disposed to apply his talents more towards making himself a vigorous conversationalist . . . than to improve his style of composition. He holds some opinions upon picturesque subjects with which I completely differ. . . . He seems well read in his provincial history.' Monstrous and absurd as it is, may we not find there some clue to her success 2 When anyone is able to master all the facts she meets with, so that they fall into some order in her mind, she will present a formidable figure to other people, who will complain that she owes her strength to her lack of perception; but at the same time so smooth a shape of the world appears in her presence that they find peace in contemplating it, and almost love the creator. Her rule was much abused in her lifetime, and even now we are disposed to make little of it. We need not claim that it was ever of very great importance; but if we recall her at all we cannot, after all these years, pretend that it has no existence. She still sits on her chair as Leslie painted her—a hard woman perhaps, but undoubtedly a strong and courageous one.
ALBEIT I hold it desirable that a man should do his own lovemaking, yet have I ever had reason to be grateful that his Sacred Majesty, that now is, did once, and once only, choose to woo by deputy. Since that he is come to his own it hath not been by any observed that our gracious King Charles II. is slack at such divertissement. But then was he but a prince, and a prince in exile, and the fair lady he was set to woo he was also to wed, all of which be weighty points of difference. It was on a day of early spring that Mademoiselle de Montpensier—la Grande Mademoiselle, as the people of Paris were wont to call her—paced the terrace which doth divide the Court Royal from the garden in the great Hotel Richelieu, now the palace of the kings of France. Of the blood of kings was Mademoiselle— Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Souveraine de Dombes, Princesse Dauphine d'Auvergne, Duchesse de Montpensier—and royally did she bear herself, albeit in those days she was far enough from dreaming of such martial exploits as have since made her name resound. I stood on the garden path below and watched, shivering somewhat the while and wishing with all my heart for a companionable cup of sack. The pale early sunlight was but chill, and I had ridden from St. Germains behind his Highness, my master. Now riding is an exercise which doth whet the appetite unreasonable sharp when a man hath not fared over bountifully, as did none of us in those beggared days, king's courtiers and king's guests though we were. Yet soon I forgot all such matters, for Mademoiselle, there on the terrace above, waved from her, queen like, her ladies, and one of them came lightly along the lower path, and so came upon me unwitting. It was Françoise de Rohan, daughter of a younger branch of the great Huguenot house; the fairest lady, to mine eyes, of all that Court, but over-well dowered in lands and moneys for a penniless exile to dare to love, ay, though his sole default were loyalty to his king. Beggary is beggary, be it by his own misdoing or fickle fortune her misliking that a man be bereft of all. So I wore not the colours of Françoise de Rohan nor met her eyes —save by blessed chance—when we encountered at the hunt or at the King's playhouse. Howbeit on that day I could not fly, being that I was in attendance on his Highness; so we made salutation very grave and courtly, and I pulled my cloak about me to hide the threadbare spot on mine elbow. “You, too, wait on the pleasure of others, Monsieur Gerard,' said she. ‘We may beguile each the ennui of the other,’ and I saw the laughter in her brown eyes. I tried to stammer out that where she was could be no weariness, but she brushed my words from her. “There is no need to waste fair speeches,’ said she ; ‘ his Highness whom you serve will have need of them all to-day.” At her speech I looked up to the terrace and saw the tall figure of my master Prince Rupert, his dark head bending very close to the fair curls of Mademoiselle, to whom he spoke. ‘'Tis like we shall need tarry some while,” said I; “deign to rest here,’ and I led her to a little seat cut in the thickness of the box hedge, well screened from the wind. Here we could see, as from a box in the playhouse, those on the terrace above, which I deem had clean forgot us, albeit they might have seen us by a glance cast below. His Highness looked very brave and point device in his wine-coloured suit, and I was glad at heart as I gazed on him to think that as yet we of his family contrived for him to go princely as beseemed him, though God wot, those last velvets and laces being worn through, I knew not whence more braveries should come. For his Highness shared such coin as he possessed with those of his household, and we were all like to go poverty-struck together. Howbeit, Mademoiselle at least guessed naught of such straits, and she glanced with bright eyes on the Prince, seeing in him the valiant leader who had won glory on our English battlefields. ‘It is well said, Monsieur, my cousin,’ cried la Grande Mademoiselle, coming to a halt just over against us; “yet better were it said by the Prince of Wales himself.” Hearing the words so clear, I made a move to withdraw, but Françoise caught my cloak and held me fast. “Mademoiselle mislikes not an audience, she whispered, and, though I was less sure of his Highness's liking, yet I abode where I was, in part because I heard a little tearing sound in my cloak, the silken lining whereof was not fitted for sudden handling. “His Highness, my cousin, might have chosen a more fortunate